US20120094356A1 - In vivo half life increased fusion protein or peptide maintained by sustained in vivo release, and method for increasng in vivo half-life using same - Google Patents

In vivo half life increased fusion protein or peptide maintained by sustained in vivo release, and method for increasng in vivo half-life using same Download PDF

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US20120094356A1
US20120094356A1 US13/265,775 US201013265775A US2012094356A1 US 20120094356 A1 US20120094356 A1 US 20120094356A1 US 201013265775 A US201013265775 A US 201013265775A US 2012094356 A1 US2012094356 A1 US 2012094356A1
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alpha
antitrypsin
peptide
fusion
α1at
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Hye-Shin Chung
Seung Bum Yoo
Sang Mee Lee
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Alteogen Inc
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K14/00Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof
    • C07K14/81Protease inhibitors
    • C07K14/8107Endopeptidase (E.C. 3.4.21-99) inhibitors
    • C07K14/811Serine protease (E.C. 3.4.21) inhibitors
    • C07K14/8121Serpins
    • C07K14/8125Alpha-1-antitrypsin
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
    • C07KPEPTIDES
    • C07K2319/00Fusion polypeptide
    • C07K2319/31Fusion polypeptide fusions, other than Fc, for prolonged plasma life, e.g. albumin

Abstract

The present invention relates to a fusion protein or peptide, the in vivo half-life of which is increased by maintaining in vivo sustained release, and to a method for increasing in vivo half-life using same. A fusion protein or peptide according to the present invention has excellent in vivo stability by binding a physiologically active protein or physiologically active peptide to an alpha-1 antitrypsin or alpha-1 antitrypsin mutant with one or more amino acids mutated to maintain the in vivo sustained release and to significantly increase the half-life thereof in blood (T1/2) compared to an inherent physiologically active protein or physiologically active peptide. Thus, a fusion protein or peptide according to the present invention can be useful in developing a sustained-release preparation of a protein or peptide drug.

Description

    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • The present invention relates to a fusion protein or peptide having increased in vivo half-life, and a method for increasing in vivo half-life of a protein or peptide using the same.
  • BACKGROUND ART
  • Protein and peptide drugs have excellent therapeutic effects that otherwise cannot be treated by general synthetic chemical drugs, and thus take important positions in medicine and pharmacy. For example, recombinant human growth hormone (hGH) is the sole effective therapeutic agent for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency, and recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) is used in treating anemia resulting from chronic kidney disease due to its ability to increase the level of red blood cells, and recombinant granulocyte colony stimulating hormone (G-CSF) is used as the sole drug to increase the white blood cell count in cancer patients after chemotherapy. In addition, various kinds of cytokines, hormones and peptides which are found in the body are used as the sole therapeutics for a wide spectrum of diseases for which no other alternatives are currently available.
  • Although they exhibit excellent therapeutic effects in vivo, these protein or peptide drugs quickly lose their therapeutic activity and thus have short half-lives in vivo because they are degraded by blood proteinases immediately after injection or they are readily removed from the body by the kidney or liver. Thus, they are disadvantageous in that they require frequent injections in order to maintain a constant blood level or titer thereof. Such frequent injection lowers the drug compliance of patients because of the fear and pain of injection or inconvenience by repeated administrations when they are used for a long period of time.
  • Many studies have been continuously conducted in order to increase the blood stability of protein and peptide drugs and maintain the levels of the drugs in the blood for a long period of time.
  • For example, sustained release dosage forms of drugs have been developed by formulating a therapeutically active protein or peptide with a bio-degradable polymer that allows proteins or peptides to be slowly released from the injection site. When the sustained release drug is subcutaneously or intramuscularly injected, the drug is slowly released to maintain the drug at a constant level for a specific period of time (M. Chasin & R. Langer, et al., Biodegradable polymer as drug delivery system, Marcel Dekker (1990); J. Heller, et al., Adv. Drug Del Rev., 10, 163 (1993)). Among the bio-degradable polymers, PLGA (poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) has been widely used. For example, a sustained dosage form of LHRH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone) agonist peptide was produced, and it was found that this product releases the peptide in vivo over one or three months. The use of bio-degradable polymers has been applied to large-molecular weight proteins. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,500,448 discloses a pharmaceutical composition for the sustained release of human growth hormone which comprises a biocompatible polymer, and particles of metal cation-complexed human growth hormone. In another study, Korean Patent Nos. 10-0236771 and 10-0329336 described the use of hyaluronic acid for the sustained release microparticles of the protein drugs, featuring the application of recombinant human growth hormone.
  • Even though, for the sustained release of drugs, bio-degradable polymers have been successfully applied to low-molecular weight peptides, there are limitations concerning their application to large-molecular weight proteins. The reason for this is that proteins are easily denatured in the course of producing sustained release microparticles and the denatured amino acids lower the activity of the protein, which cause some undesired immune responses in human body. In addition, the size of microparticles for the sustained release of proteins or peptides is generally large, requiring thick syringe needles when injected into human, which create pain at injection site. Also, the microparticles have the economical disadvantage of low production yields in the production of the products for the commercial purpose.
  • In order to overcome the aforementioned problems, studies have been directed towards the delay of renal clearance of proteins or peptides. On the whole, proteins with a molecular weight of 60,000 daltons or less pass through the kidney without renal retention. Hence, attempts have been made to enlarge the low-molecular weight of peptide or protein therapeutics to prolong in vivo circulating time, thus reducing the frequency of injection. According to these techniques, physiologically active proteins and peptides are not provided in a sustained release form but rather in a long-acting form.
  • One of the most popular strategies used to reduce injection frequency is to attach a highly soluble polymer such as polyethylene glycol (hereinafter referred to as “PEG”) to the surface of pharmaceutically active proteins or peptides. PEG can be non-specifically attached to the amine group of amino acids of proteins or peptides. PEGylation can provide water solubility to hydrophobic drugs and proteins and increases the hydrodynamic size of the agent to prolong the time in circulation when it is injected to the body (Sada et al., J. Ferment Bioeng 71, 137-139, 1991).
  • Recently, PEGylated interferon alpha has been commercialized in order to reduce the injection intervals. In addition, Kinstler et al. demonstrated that one injection of PEGylated granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) per week (one chemotherapy cycle) had the same medical effect as did triweekly injections of G-CSF (Kinstler et al., Pharm Res 12, 1883-1888, 1995). PEG-GCSF was commercially available under the tradename of “Neulast.”
  • Since the PEGylation of a protein results from the non-specific covalent conjugation of PEG to the surface of the protein, the interaction of the protein with its receptor may be hindered at the PEGylated region, thus significantly decreasing the in vivo activity of the protein. In addition, PEGylation is somewhat cumbersome because the proteins pegylated at the physiologically active site must be removed during a purification process to leave behind the PEG-protein conjugates which have their activity decreased to the minimal degree possible. In this process, thus, the production yield of desired PEG-protein conjugates is significantly lowered, resulting in the economically unfavorable situation. In addition, as for some proteins that are unstable in aqueous solutions, attempts to conjugate with PEG has been failed.
  • Also, a glycoengineering technique has been used to reduce injection frequency and has now been commercialized. Elliot et al. reported the additional glycosylation of erythropoietin (EPO) by substituting amino acids at certain positions (Nat Biotechnol 21, 414-421, 2003; U.S. Pat. No. 7,217,689). The erythropoietin modified by glycoengineering technique is now commercially available under the tradename of “Aranesp” and it is known that the circulation in the blood stream, metabolism and excretion of the modified erythropoietin are retarded due to the addition of sugar chains with sialic acid at the terminus and the increased molecular weight. However, the glycoenginneeing technology to introduce additional glycosilation sites of the proteins has not been widely used, because the attachment or addition of sugar chains may cause inactivation of the physiologically active protein, and its ability to maintain in vivo stability of many proteins has not been proven. And the choice of sites of the physiologically active protein to which sugar chains can be additionally attached is very narrow. In addition, the glycoengineering technology is not easy to apply to low-molecular weight peptides.
  • The development of genetic engineering technology has allowed to enlarge the size of a physiologically active protein by fusion with a high-molecular weight protein (Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel 12, 284-295, 2009). For example, a physiologically active protein gene is fused to a human albumin gene and then expressed in yeast cells to produce a fusion protein (International Patent Publication Nos. WO 93/15199 and WO 93/15200). Examples of the physiologically active protein fused to albumin include granulocyte colony stimulating factor (Halpern et al., Pharm Res 19, 1720-1729, 2002), human growth hormone (Osborn et al., Eur J Pharmacol 456, 149-158, 2002), glucagon like peptide-1 (Baggio et al., Diabetes 53, 2492-2500, 2004), and interferon alpha (Osborn et al., J Pharmacol Exp Ther 303, 540-548, 2002).
  • In the case of recombinant fusion technology, fusion proteins with transferrin are also known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,176,278 discloses a fusion molecule in which glucagon like peptide-1 is fused to native transferrin or aglycosylated transferrin and becomes increased in vivo half-life.
  • Meanwhile, the in vivo half-life of a protein can be extended by fusion to an immunoglobulin (Ig) Fc fragment (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,116,964 and 5,605,690). A fusion gene of TNF-α receptor fragment and IgG1 Fc fragment was expressed in an animal cell (Chinese hamster ovary, CHO) transformed with the gene encoding the fusion protein and the fusion protein is now commercially available (tradename: Enbrel) after approval of USFDA as a therapeutic agent for rheumatoid arthritis. Further, Wang (Qinghua Wang; WO 2007/012188) extended the in vivo half-life of GLP-1 (t1/2<2 min) or exendin-4 with short half-life by fusion to an Ig Fc fragment.
  • Even if Ig Fc is widely used as a carrier for fusion proteins in order to increase in vivo half-life, IgG1 Fc retains its own antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) or complement dependent cytotoxicity (CDC). Hence, when injected into the body, a fusion protein of a physiologically active protein with IgG1 Fc may cause complex immune responses. In addition, repeated administration of Fc fusion proteins for a long period of time may produce undesired antibodies. Accordingly, the use of IgG1 Fc fusion proteins has limitation in clinical application.
  • Korean Patent No. 10-0725315 discloses a protein complex using an immunoglobulin fragment and a method for the preparation thereof in which a physiologically active protein is fused to IgG Fc via PEG. The “protein complex” having a structure of physiologically active protein-PEG-Fc has a longer in vivo half-life than the physiologically active protein as measured by pharmacokinetic assay. However, the similar drawbacks or problems shown in Fc fusion method can be also observed in “protein complex” because a physiologically active protein and an Fc fragment are chemically bonded by PEG molecule.
  • Another example of the use of immunoglobulin in enhancing the in vivo stability of a peptide drug is the fusion of an entire IgG antibody molecule and a low-molecular peptide (Rader et al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 100, 5396-5400, 2003, Doppalapudi et al., Bioorg & Med Chem 17, 501-506, 2007). However, this technique, called “CovX-Body,” cannot be applied to large-molecular weight proteins and its use is limited due to the problems generated upon the production of the Fc fusion proteins or the PEG fusion proteins.
  • As described above, many attempts have been made to fuse a biopolymer to a physiologically active protein or therapeutic peptide, but can be applied only to a limited range of proteins or peptides for the following reasons: in vivo residency time is not sufficiently long enough to develop the fusion protein for medicinal use; remarkably low production yield resulting in economically unfavorable situation; undesired immune responses when used for a long time; and the undesirable residual presence of toxic chemical derivaties when used for the conjugation with proteins or peptides. There is, therefore, a need for novel fusion proteins or peptides that can extend the in vivo half-life of physiologically active proteins or peptides, with the minimal loss of in vivo activity.
  • DISCLOSURE Technical Problem
  • Leading to the present invention, intensive and thorough research into fusion proteins or peptides that have an extended in vivo half-life and minimalized loss of in vivo activity, conducted by the present inventors, resulted in the finding that alpha-1 antitrypsin or a variant thereof allows a physiologically active protein or peptide fused thereto to maintain sustained circulation in vivo and thus to have increased in vivo stability and in vivo half-life (T1/2) compared to the protein or peptide on its own.
  • Technical Solution
  • The present invention provides an in vivo half-life-extended fusion protein or peptide with the sustained circulation thereof maintained, and a method for extending the in vivo half-life of a protein or peptide using the same.
  • DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a graph demonstrating pharmacokinetic behaviors of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH].
  • FIG. 2 is a graph demonstrating pharmacokinetic behaviors of the human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α].
  • FIG. 3 is a graph demonstrating pharmacokinetic behaviors of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF].
  • FIG. 4 is a graph demonstrating pharmacokinetic behaviors of the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)].
  • FIG. 5 is a graph showing in vivo activity (body weight change in pituitary gland-removed rats) of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH].
  • FIG. 6 is a graph showing in vivo activities (increase in leukocyte count) of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S3591)/G-CSF].
  • FIG. 7 is a graph showing results of an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test conducted with exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)].
  • FIG. 8 is a graph showing the effect of the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] on blood sugar level in diabetes mouse models.
  • FIG. 9 is a graph showing intracellular activities of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT (P357N, S359T)/hGH].
  • FIG. 10 is a graph showing intracellular activities of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT (P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF].
  • FIG. 11 is a graph showing inhibitory activities of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] against trypsin.
  • FIG. 12 is a graph showing inhibitory activities of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] against human neutrophil elastase.
  • FIG. 13 is a photograph showing protein bands of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T1091: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] after SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
  • BEST MODE
  • In accordance with an aspect thereof, the present invention provides an in vivo half-life-extended fusion protein or peptide in which a physiologically active protein or peptide is fused to alpha-1 antitrypsin, whereby the physiologically active protein or peptide can be circulated in a sustained manner in vivo.
  • In accordance with another aspect thereof, the present invention provides an in vivo half-life-extended fusion protein or peptide in which a physiologically active protein or peptide is fused to an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant mutated at one or more amino acid residues, wherey the physiologically active protein or peptide can be circulated in a sustained manner in vivo.
  • In accordance with a further aspect thereof, the present invention provides a method for extending the in vivo half-life of a physiologically active protein or peptide, comprising fusing the physiologically active protein or peptide to alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant having one or more mutated amino acids, whereby the physiologically active protein or peptide can be circulated in a sustained manner in vivo.
  • Below, a detailed description is given of the present invention.
  • The fusion protein or peptide according to the present invention features the use of alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant to maintain the sustained circulation of a physiologically active protein or peptide to extend the in vivo half-life by fusing the physiologically active protein or peptide thereto.
  • As used herein, the term “fusion protein/fusion polypeptide” means a novel protein molecule in which a physiologically active protein with a large molecular weight is fused to the N- or C-terminus of alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant. Likewise, the term “fusion peptide,” as used herein, means a novel peptide molecule in which a physiologically active peptide with a low molecular weight is fused to the N- or C-terminus of alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant.
  • The physiologically active protein or peptide may be fused directly or via a linker consisting of amino acids to alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant mutated with one or more amino acids.
  • Preferably, a gene recombination technique is used to fuse the physiologically active protein or peptide to alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant mutated at one or more amino acids. Alternatively, a linker well known in the art may be used for the fusion of the physiologically active protein or peptide to the N- or C-terminus or a free group of alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant mutated at one or more amino acids.
  • Among the physiologically active proteins are hormones and their receptors, biological response modifiers and their receptors, cytokines and their receptors, enzymes, antibodies, and antibody fragments. Concrete examples of the physiologically active protein include human growth hormone(hGH), insulin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), human chorionic gonadotropin, parathyroid hormone (PTH), erythropoietin (EPO), thrombopoietin (TPO), granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon alpha, interferon beta, interferon gamma, interleukins, macrophage activating factor, tumor necrosis factor, tissue plasminogen activator, coagulation factor VII, VIIa, VIII and IX, human bone morphogenic protein 2 (hBMP2), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), platelet-derived growth factor(PDGF), glucocerebrosidase, α-galactosidase A, α-L-iduronidase, iduronate-2-sulfatase, lactase, adenosine deaminase, butyrylcholinesterase, chitinase, glutamate decarboxylase, imiglucerase, lipase, uricase, platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase, neutral endopeptidase, urokinase, streptokinase, myeloperoxidase, superoxide dismutase, botulinum toxin, collagenase, hyaluronidase, L-asparaginase, monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, scFv, Fab, Fab′, F(ab′)2 and Fd, but are not limited thereto.
  • Examples of the physiologically active peptide include glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and its analogs, exendin and its analogs, somatostatin and its analogs, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone(LHRH) agonist and antagonist, adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, oxytocin, thymosin alpha-1, corticotropin-releasing factor, calcitonin, bivalirudin, vasopressin analogues and fragments of physiologically active proteins, but are not limited thereto.
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a mammalian serum protein of about 50,000 Daltons and present in high quantity in the blood about 2 mg/mL (Robin W. C. et al., Nature 298, 329-334, 1982). Alpha-1 antitrypsin is also referred to as alpha-1 protease inhibitor because it inhibits a wide variety of proteases. In conjunction with known diseases, however, it has the predominant function of protecting lung tissues from neutrophil elastase (Beatty et al., J Biol Chem 255, 3931-3934, 1980). In the absence of alpha-1 antitrypsin, neutrophil elastase is free to break down elastin, which contributes to the elasticity of the lungs, resulting in respiratory complications such as emphysema. Disorders of this protein include alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, a hereditary disorder. Alpha-1 antitrypsin extracted from serum has been commercially available as a therapeutic agent for emphysema under the tradename of “Prolastin” since it was approved by the FDA. The stability and safety of Prolastin have been proven and it is intravenously injected at a dose of 60 mg/kg per week. In addition, alpha-1 antitrypsin itself is known to have an in vivo half-life of about 5-6 days (Weweres, M D, et al., N. Engl J Med 316, 1055-1062, 1987). This provides a theoretical basis on which alpha-1 antitrypsin which is safe to the body even if it is administered in a large amount can function to increase the in vivo half-life of a physiologically active protein or peptide by fusion there between. The role as a protease inhibitor and the structure of alpha-1 antitrypsin are well known (Elliott, P. et al., JMB 275, 419-425, 1998). The P1 amino acid residue (position 358 from the N-terminal) in alpha-1 antitrypsin is methionine, a residue essential for binding elastase. The protein is also known to inhibit a wide variety of proteases including trypsin, chymostrypsin, thrombin, and elastase. The alpha-1 antitrypsin gene is highly pleiomorphic with over 100 alleles identified to date, the phenotypes of which are determined using IEF (isoelectric focusing) and assigned a letter code (A to Z) (Stoller et al., The Lancet, 365, 2225-2236, 2005). The family of M alleles, most prevalent among the alleles, is referred to as M, and is further divided into subtypes, such as M1 (Val213), M1 (Ala213), M2 and M3, according to the amino acid sequence mutations. Hence, the alpha-1 antitrypsin used in the present invention is a specific subtype belonging to the family of M alleles, and other subtypes are also used with the same effect.
  • The alpha-1 antitrypsin variant may be prepared by site-directed mutagenesis at one or more amino acids. For example, the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant may have asparagine at position 357 of P2 in substitution for proline. In addition to the replacement of P2 asparagine for proline at position 357, the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant may have one or more other mutant amino acids at other positions. In detail, the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant may have asparagine instead of proline at position 357 and optionally threonine instead of serine at position 359 and/or serine instead of cysteine at position 232. The alpha-1 antitrypsin variant useful in the present invention may be selected from among the alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [α1AT(P357N)], the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [α1AT(P357N, S359T)], the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2[α1AT(P357N, C232S)], and the alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant [α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)].
  • The alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [α1AT(P357N)] results from the replacement of proline (Pro) with asparagine (Asn) at position 357 of P2 from the N-terminus. This alpha-1 antitrypsin variant is characterized by the generation of a new N-glycosylation site Asn-X-Ser, which contributes to the function of neutralizing the inhibitory activity of alpha-1 antitrypsin as a protease inhibitor and also minimizing the immunogenicity attributable to the amino acid substitution upon injection.
  • The alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [α1AT(P357N, S359T)] results from the replacement of proline with asparagine at position 357 of P2 and serine with threonine at position 359. This alpha-1 antitrypsin variant is characterized by the generation of a new N-glycosylation site Asn-X-Thr, which contributes to the function of neutralizing the inhibitory activity of alpha-1 antitrypsin as a protease inhibitor and minimizing the immunogenicity attributable to the amino acid substitution upon injection.
  • The alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2 [α1AT(P357N, C232S)] results from the replacement of proline with asparagine at position 357 of P2 and cysteine with serine at position 232. This alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2 is characterized by the generation of a new N-glycosylation site Asn-X-Ser, which contributes to the function of neutralizing the activity of alpha-1 antitrypsin as a protease inhibitor and minimizing the immunogenicity attributable to the amino acid substitution upon injection, and additionally prevention of a dimer formation mediated by the free cysteine.
  • Resulting from the replacement of proline with asparagine at position 357 of P2, cysteine with serine at position 232, and serine with threonine at position 359, the alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant [α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)] is characterized by the generation of a new N-glycosylation site Asn-X-Thr, which contributes to the function of neutralizing the inhibitory activity of alpha-1 antitrypsin as a protease inhibitor and minimizing the immunogenicity attributable to the amino acid substitution upon injection, and additionally preventing of a dimer formation mediated by the free cysteine.
  • Among the fusion proteins or peptides of the present invention are human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] (SEQ ID NO: 1), human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] (SEQ ID NO: 2), human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] (SEQ ID NO: 3), human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α] (SEQ ID NO: 4), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] (SEQ ID NO: 5), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] (SEQ ID NO: 6), and exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] (SEQ ID NO: 7).
  • All of the fusion proteins or peptides described herein human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH], human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α], granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF], and exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] are significantly increased in serum half-life (t1/2) and show excellent in vivo stability, as compared to the physiologically active proteins or peptides themselves.
  • When injected into pituitary gland-removed rats, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] was found to induce the animals to gain weight. The level of leucocytes in rats was increased when they were injected with the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] or the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF]. The group administered with the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] showed lower blood sugar levels than did the groups administered with exendin-4 and this low blood sugar level was maintained for at least 24 hours after administration. Thus, the fusion proteins or peptides according to the present invention retain in vivo activity for a long period of time.
  • In addition, the fusion proteins or peptides, human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH], granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] have similar intracellular activity (EC50) and therefore, their activities do not significantly vary depending on the type of the carriers, that is, alpha-1 antitrypsin and alpha-1 antitrypsin variants.
  • Further, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] of the present invention shows excellent inhibitory activity against trypsin and human neutrophil elastase while the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] has very low inhibitory activity against trypsin and human neutrophil elastase. Accordingly, the fact that the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] increase in vivo half-life by sustained circulation is not dependent on the inherent property of alpha-1 antitrypsin.
  • As described above, the fusion proteins or peptides according to the present invention are increased in serum half-life (T1/2) through sustained circulation, and thus have higher in vivo stability, compared to the physiologically active proteins or peptides themselves. Consequently, the fusion proteins or peptides of the present invention can be applied to the development of the sustained circulation dosage forms of the protein or peptide drugs.
  • Mode for Invention
  • A better understanding of the present invention may be obtained through the following examples which are set forth to illustrate, but are not to be construed as limiting the present invention.
  • Example 1 Preparation of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH]
  • 1. Construction of Expression Vector, pSNAT
  • For use in the expression of human growth hormone fused to the C-terminus of alpha-1 antitrypsin, the expression vector pSNAT which carried alpha-1 antitrypsin was constructed. In detail, alpha-1 antitrypsin gene was obtained from the vector hMU001448 (KRIBB) by PCR using a pair of primers ALT21 (SEQ ID NO: 8) and ALT30 (SEQ ID NO: 9), which were designed to fuse human growth hormone to the C-terminus of alpha-1 antitrypsin. The primer ALT30 was also designed to have a linker which would give flexibility necessary for the maintenance of the fusion proteins. The amplified nucleotide was digested with two restriction enzymes XhoI and BamHI and cloned into pSGHVO (GenBank Accession No. AF285183) resulting in a recombinant vector, called pSNAT.
  • 2. Construction of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Vector [T109wt, α1AT/hGH]
  • A human growth hormone (hGH) gene was amplified from the IOH45734 vector (Invitrogen) by PCR using a pair of primers DH22 (SEQ ID NO: 10) and ALT12 (SEQ ID NO: 11). The PCR product thus obtained was digested with two restriction enzymes BamHI and NotI, and cloned to pSNAT at the same restriction site BamHI/NotI to make a recombinant expression vector, called T109wt(SEQ ID NO: 1).
  • 3. Expression of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Fusion (T109wt)
  • The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion (T109wt) prepared above in 1-2 was expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1). CHO-K1 was maintained in DMEM (Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Media) supplemented with 10% FBS (Fetal Bovine Serum) and antibiotics at 37° C. under a 5% CO2 condition. One day before the introduction of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion (T109wt) thereinto, the cells were inoculated at a density of 1×106 cells into a 100 mm culture dish. To 800 μL of DMEM free of FBS and antibiotics was added 5 μg of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion (T109wt) and the mixture was incubated at room temperature for 1 min, mixed with 20 μg of PEI (Polyethylenimine, linear, Polysciences Inc (Cat. no: 23966, MW-25,000)) and left at room temperature for 10-15 min. Meanwhile, the cells incubated for one day were washed with PBS and provided with 6 mL of fresh DMEM. The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion (T109wt) left for 10-15 min at room temperature was added to the culture dish. Next day, the cells were washed with PBS and provided with FBS-free IMDM (Cat. No 12200-028, Gibco, Iscove's Modified Dulbecco's Medium) to identify the expression of the protein.
  • 4. Purification of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Fusion (T109wt)
  • After being expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO0K1) as described in 1-3 above, the T109wt protein was purified as follows. In detail, because the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion (T109wt) was secreted to the medium, the cell culture was centrifuged so that the supernatant could be collected. This supernatant was diluted in an equilibrium buffer solution (20 mM sodium phosphate, pH 8.0), loaded to a Q-Sepharose column (GE Healthcare, U.S.A.) previously equilibrated with the equilibrium buffer solution, and sufficiently washed with the equilibrium buffer solution, followed by elution with an increasing NaCl concentration gradient of an eluent (0-400 mM NaCl, 20 mM sodium phosphate, pH 8.0). The protein eluate was mixed with a salt, loaded to an equilibrated Phenyl-Sepharose column (GE Healthcare, U.S.A), and washed with a sufficient amount of the equilibrium buffer solution, followed by elution with a decreasing NaCl concentration gradient of an eluent (2-0 M NaCl, 20 mM sodium phosphate, pH 6.8). The protein fraction was concentrated with the aid of Vivaspin20 (GE Healthcare, U.S.A.) to produce highly purified T109wt.
  • Example 2 Preparation of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH]
  • 1. Preparation of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant (pDHT3N Cloning Vector)
  • Because alpha-1 antitrypsin used for a fusion carrier in the fusion molecule has an inhibitory activity itself, the inhibitor activity of alpha-1 antitrypsin was substantially decreased by making a variant of alpha-1 antitrypsin. In this regard, an alpha-1 antitrypsin gene was amplified from the vector hMU001448 (KRIBB) by PCR, and cloned into the yT&A vector to produce a recombinant vector pDHT3. Afterwards, substitution mutation of the proline residue at position 357 of P2 with asparagine for N-glycosylation was performed using a pair of primers ALT1 (SEQ ID NO: 12) and ALT2 (SEQ ID NO: 13) with the aid of a mutagenesis kit (Stratagene, QuikChange II Cat No. 200523-5) to produce a cloning vector pDHT3N.
  • 2. Construction of Expression Vector pSNATN
  • For use in the expression of human growth hormone fused to the C-terminus of the inactivated alpha-1 antitrypsin, the expression vector pSNATN which carried the alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant was constructed. In detail, an alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant gene was obtained from the vector pDHT3N by PCR using a pair of primers ALT14 (SEQ ID NO: 14) and ALT30 (SEQ ID NO: 9) and cloned into pSNAT digested with two restriction enzymes EcoRV and BamHI to afford a recombinant vector, called pSNATN.
  • 3. Construction of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Vector [T109, α1AT(P357N)/hGH]
  • The human growth hormone gene amplified in Example 1-2 was inserted into pSNATN at the restriction site BamHI/NotI to afford a recombinant expression vector, called T109 (SEQ ID NO: 2).
  • 4. Expression of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion (T109)
  • The expression of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T109) in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) was identified in the same procedure as in Example 1-3.
  • 5. Purification of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion (T109)
  • The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T109) was purified in the same manner as in Example 1-4.
  • Example 3 Preparation of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH]
  • 1. Preparation of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant (pDHT3NT Cloning Vector)
  • For use in the preparation of inactivated alpha-1 antitrypsin by introduction of glycosyaltion site at the active site of the molecule, alpha-1 antitrypsin was double mutated to decrease its activity and achieve the homogeneity of glycosylation. In this regard, substitution of the serine residue at position 359 with threonine for homogeneity of glycosylation formation was performed on the N-glycosylation-induced pDHT3N cloning vector which carries the alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant which was decreased in activity by mutating proline at position 357 of P2 into asparagine, using a pair of primers ALT82 (SEQ ID NO: 15) and ALT83 (SEQ ID NO: 16) with the aid of a mutagenesis kit (Enzynomics, EZchange Cat No. EM020) to produce a cloning vector, called pDHT3NT.
  • 2. Construction of Expression Vector pSNATNT
  • For use in the expression of human growth hormone fused to the C-terminus of the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant, which has the homogeneity of glycosylation and had decreased activity, an expression vector pSNATNT was constructed. In this regard, an alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant gene was amplified from pDHT3NT by PCR using a pair of primers ALT14 (SEQ ID NO: 14) and ALT30 (SEQ ID NO: 9), designed to fuse human growth hormone to the C-terminus of the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant, and cloned to pSNAT previously treated with two restriction enzymes EcoRV and BamHI, to give a recombinant expression vector, called pSNATNT.
  • 3. Construction of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Vector [T1091, α1AT(P357N, 5359T)/hGH]
  • The human growth hormone nucleotide amplified in Example 1-2 was cloned to pSNATNT at the restriction site BamHI/NotI to give an expression vector, called T109T (SEQ ID NO: 3).
  • 4. Expression of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin divariant fusion (T109T)
  • The expression of human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion (T109T) in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) was identified in the same manner as in Example 1-3.
  • 5. Purification of Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion (T109T)
  • The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion (T109T) was purified in the same manner as in Example 1-4.
  • Example 4 Preparation of Human Interferon Alpha/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α]
  • 1. Construction of Human Interferon Alpha/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Vector [T502, α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α]
  • A human interferon alpha (IFN-α) gene was amplified from the MHS1010-98051913 vector (Open biosystems) by PCR using a pair of primers ALT45 (SEQ ID NO: 17) and ALT49 (SEQ ID NO: 18). The PCR product thus obtained was double digested with BamHI and NotI and then cloned into pSNATN at the restriction site BamHI/NotI to give a recombinant expression vector, called T502 (SEQ ID NO: 4).
  • 2. Expression of Human Interferon Alpha/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant (T502)
  • The expression of human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T502) in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) was identified in the same manner as in Example 1-3.
  • 3. Purification of Human Interferon Alpha/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant (T502)
  • The human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T502) was purified in the same manner as in Example 1-4.
  • Example 5 Preparation of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF]
  • 1. Preparation of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant 2 (pDHT3NS Cloning Vector)
  • For use in the preparation of protein or peptide therapeutic agents, alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2 was prepared by mutating alpha-1 antitrypsin to decrease the inherent activity of alpha-1 antitrypsin and eliminate the possibility of protein denaturation resulting from cystein-mediated dimer formation. In this context, substitution mutation of the cystein residue at position 232 with threonine was performed on the N-glycosylation-induced pDHT3N cloning vector which carries the alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant decreased in activity by mutating proline at position 357 of P2 into asparagine, using a pair of primers ALT52 (SEQ ID NO: 19) and ALT53 (SEQ ID NO: 20) with the aid of a mutagenesis kit (Stratagene, QuikChange II Cat No. 200523-5) to produce a cloning vector, called pDHT3NS.
  • 2. Construction of Expression Vector pSNATNS
  • For use in the expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor fused to the C-terminus of the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2, which has decreased inhibitor activity, an expression vector pSNATNS was constructed. In this regard, an alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2 gene was amplified from pDHT3NS by PCR using a pair of primers ALT14 (SEQ ID NO: 14) and ALT30 (SEQ ID NO: 9), designed to fuse granulocyte colony-stimulating factor to the C-terminus of the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2, and was cloned to pSNAT previously treated with two restriction enzymes BstEII and BamHI, to give a recombinant expression vector, called pSNATNS.
  • 3. Construction of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant 2 Vector [T602S, α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF]
  • A granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) gene was amplified from IHS1380-97652343 (Open biosystems) by PCR using a pair of primers ALT56 (SEQ ID NO: 21) and ALT57 (SEQ ID NO: 22). The PCR product thus obtained was double digested with BamHI and NotI and cloned to pSNATNS at the restriction site BamHI/NotI to give a recombinant expression vector, called T602S (SEQ ID NO: 5).
  • 4. Expression of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin divariant fusion (T602S)
  • The expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion (T602S) in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) was identified in the same manner as in Example 1-3.
  • 5. Purification of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin divariant fusion (T602S)
  • The granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion (T602S) was purified in the same manner as in Example 1-4.
  • Example 6 Preparation of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF]
  • 1. Preparation of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant (pDHT3NST Cloning Vector)
  • For use in the preparation of protein or peptide therapeutic agents, an alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant was prepared by mutating the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant to achieve the homogeneity of glycosylation. In this regard, using a mutagenesis kit (Enzynomics, EZchange Cat No. EM020) in the presence of a pair of primers ALT82 (SEQ ID NO: 15) and ALT83 (SEQ ID NO: 16), substitution of serine residue at position 359 with threonine for homogeneity of glycosylation was performed on the N-glycosylation-induced pDHT3NS cloning vector carrying the alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant 2 in which the inherent activity was decreased as a result of substitution of the proline at position 357 of P2 into asparagine and the likelihood of protein denaturation attributable to cystein-mediated dimer formation was removed as a result of substitution of cystein at position 232 with serine.
  • 2. Construction of Expression Vector pSNATNST
  • For use in the expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor fused to the C-terminus of the alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant, which has decreased activity, an expression vector pSNATNST was constructed. In this regard, an alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant gene was amplified from pDHT3NST by PCR using a pair of primers ALT14 (SEQ ID NO: 14) and ALT30 (SEQ ID NO: 9), designed to fuse granulocyte colony-stimulating factor to the C-terminus of the alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant, and was cloned to pSNAT previously treated with two restriction enzymes BstEII and BamHI, to give a recombinant expression vector, called pSNATNST.
  • 3. Construction of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Vector [T602ST, α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF]
  • A granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) gene was amplified from the IHS1380-97652343 vector (Open biosystems) by PCR using a pair of primers ALT56 (SEQ ID NO: 21) and ALT57 (SEQ ID NO: 22). The amplified nucleotide was double digested with BamHI and NotI and cloned into pSNATNST at the restriction site BamHI/NotI to give a recombinant expression vector, called 1602ST (SEQ ID NO: 6).
  • 4. Expression of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Fusion (T602ST)
  • The expression of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion (1602ST) in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) was identified in the same manner as in Example 1-3.
  • 5. Purification of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Fusion (T602ST)
  • The granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion (T602ST) was purified in the same manner as in Example 1-4.
  • Example 7 Preparation of Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)]
  • 1. Construction of Expression Vector pSCAT
  • For use in the expression of exendin-4 fused to the N-terminus of alpha-1 antitrypsin, a pSCAT vector was constructed. In detail, alpha-1 antitrypsin to the N-terminus of which exendin-4 would be fused was amplified from the hMU001448 vector (KRIBB) by PCR using a pair of primers ALT21 (SEQ ID NO: 8) and ALT5 (SEQ ID NO: 23). The amplified nucleotide was digested with two restriction enzymes XhoI and NotI and cloned into pSGHVO (GenBank Accession No. AF285183) to give a recombinant vector, called pSCAT.
  • 2. Construction of Expression Vector pSCATN
  • For use in the expression of exendin-4 fused to the N-terminus of the inactivated alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant, pSCATN was constructed. In this context, a gene encoding the alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant to the N-terminus of which exendin-4 would be fused was obtained from the vector pDHT3N and cloned into pSCAT using two restriction enzymes EcoRV and NotI to give a recombinant vector, called pSCATN.
  • 3. Preparation of Exendin-4
  • An exendin-4 gene was amplified by PCR using DH15 (sense codon, SEQ ID NO: 24) and DH16 (antisense codon, SEQ ID NO: 25).
  • 4. Construction of Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant [1304, Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)]
  • An exendin-4 gene was amplified from the gene prepared in Example 7-3 by PCR using a pair of primers ALT44 (SEQ ID NO: 26) and ALT41 (SEQ ID NO: 27). This amplified nucleotide was double digested with XhoI and BamHI and cloned into pSCATN at the restriction site XhoI/BamHI to produce an exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant vector (T304, SEQ ID NO: 7).
  • 5. Expression of Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion (T304)
  • The expression of the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin variant fusion (T304) in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-K1) was identified in the same manner as in Example 1-3.
  • 6. Purification of Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion (T304)
  • The exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T304) was purified in the same manner as in Example 1-4.
  • Test Example 1 Enzyme Immunoassay of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides
  • Enzyme immunoassay was conducted to analyze the fusion proteins or peptides of the present invention as follows.
  • 1. Enzyme Immunoassay of Human Growth Hormone (hGH), Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] and Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH]
  • An anti-human growth hormone monoclonal antibody (Medix Biochemica, Finland) was diluted to a concentration of 1-5 μg/mL in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and the dilution was aliquoted in an amount of 100 μL/well onto a 96-well plate (Nunc, Denmark) and incubated at room temperature for 15-18 hrs. After the antibody remaining suspended was removed, PBS containing 1% bovine serum albumin was plated in an amount of 250 μL/well and incubated at room temperature for 2 hours. The plates were washed three times with wash buffer (0.05% Tween 20, PBS) and the solution was aspirated. Samples were diluted in PBS containing 1% bovine serum albumin and added to the 96-well plates before incubation at room temperature for 2 hrs. The 96-well plates were washed five times with wash buffer and 100 μL of the human growth hormone monoclonal antibody-biotin conjugate prepared using sulfo-NHS-biotin (Pierce biotechnology, U.S.A.) was added to each well of the 96-well plates and then incubated at room temperature for 2 hrs. The plates were washed five times with wash buffer and incubated with streptabidin-HRP at room temperature for 30 min. Again, the plates were washed five times with wash buffer and reacted with 100 μL of a mixture of TMB (3,3′,5,5′-tetramethylbenzidine) and hydrogen peroxide per well for 30 min in a dark place. To each well was added 100 μL of 1 M sulfuric acid to terminate the reaction, followed by measuring absorbance at 450 nm on a VersaMax microplate reader (Molecular Device, U.S.A.). Values for each sample were calculated by regression analysis after a standard curve was plotted for a reference material.
  • 2. Enzyme Immunoassay of Human Interferon Alpha (IFN-α), Human Interferon Alpha/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α]
  • The enzyme immunoassay of human interferon alpha (IFN-α) and human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion was conducted with Human IFN-αMatched Antibody Pairs for ELISA (bender Medsystems, Austria). The IFN-αantibody (10 μg/ml) was allowed to adhere to 96-well plates and blocked as described in Test Example 1-1. A dilution of the sample was reacted with the antibody at room temperature for 2 hrs with shaking. An anti-IFN-α-HRP conjugate was plated in an amount of 50 μL/well and reacted with the antibody at room temperature for 2 hrs with shaking. Subsequent processes were conducted in the same manner as in Test Example 1-1.
  • 3. Enzyme Immunoassay of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor (G-CSF), Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF]
  • The same procedure as in Test Example 1 was repeated with the exception that an anti-granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) monoclonal antibody (RND systems, U.S.A.), instead of the anti-human growth hormone antibody, was diluted to a concentration of 1-5 μg/mL and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor polyclonal antibodies-biotin conjugate (RND systems, U.S.A.), instead of the human growth hormone monoclonal antibody-biotin conjugate, was used.
  • 4. Enzyme Immunoassay of Exendin-4, Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [1304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)]
  • The same procedure as in Test Example 1-1 was repeated, with the exception that anti-exendin-4 polyclonal antibodies (Peptron, Korea), instead of the anti-human growth hormone, were diluted to a concentration of 5-10 μg/mL in PBS and an exendin-4 monoclonal antibody-biotin conjugate, instead of the human growth hormone monoclonal antibody-biotin conjugate, was used.
  • As for the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T304) prepared in Example 7, it was mixed with a Freund adjuvant (Sigma, U.S.A.) before injection into rats to produce antisera. The antibodies were purified using Protein G-Sepharose (GE Healthcare, U.S.A.). The purified antibodies were diluted to a concentration of 10-20 μL/mL in PBS, and 96-well plates were coated with the antibodies, and reacted with the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion (T304) polyclonal antibody-biotin conjugate prepared using a sulfo-NHS-biotin conjugate (Pierce biotechnology, U.S.A.) in a similar manner to that of Test Example 1-1. The reactions with the sample and the conjugate were conducted while being shaken.
  • Test Example 2 Pharmacokinetic Assay of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides
  • To examine the pharmacokinetics of the fusion proteins or peptides, the following experiments were conducted.
  • 1. Pharmacokinetics of Human Growth Hormone (hGH), Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH]
  • Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals and three of them were administered with human growth hormone while five rats were assigned to each of the fusion-administered groups. The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH], all prepared in Examples 1-3, were subcutaneously injected at a dose of 720 μg/kg into respective groups of Sprague-Dawley rats. The samples were diluted in PBS before injection. Blood samples were taken at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 30 and 48 hrs after the injection, and centrifuged to obtain sera. For a control, Scitropin (SciGen, Singapore), a kind of human growth hormone, was subcutaneously injected at a dose of 200 μg/kg. PBS was used as a diluent. Blood samples were taken at 0, 0.33, 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 48 hrs after the injection, and centrifuged to obtain sera. Each sample was analyzed in the same manner as the enzyme immunoassay of Test Example 1.
  • The pharmacokinetics of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] are plotted in FIG. 1.
  • As seen in FIG. 1, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 5.3 hrs and a time to peak serum concentration (Tmax) of 8 hrs, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 5.4 hrs and a Tmax of 12 hrs, and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 4.9 hrs and a Tmax of 12.8 hrs. On the other hand, human growth hormone (hGH) had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 0.8 hrs and a Tmax of 1 hr. Hence, all the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovarian fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] were observed to have significantly increased in vivo stability over that of human growth hormone.
  • 2. Pharmacokinetics of Human Interferon Alpha (IFN-α), Human Interferon Alpha/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α]
  • Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals and five rats were assigned to each test group. The human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α] prepared in Example 4 was subcutaneously injected at a dose of 200 μg/kg into Sprague-Dawley rats of one test group, 0, 0.33, 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30, 48, 72 and 96 hrs after which blood samples were taken, and centrifuged to obtain sera. As a control, human interferon alpha (IFN-α, Intermax alpha, LG Life Sciences, Korea) was subcutaneously injected at a dose of 60 μg/kg to rats, 0, 0.33, 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 18, and 24 hrs after which blood samples were taken and centrifuged to obtain sera. Each sample was analyzed in the same manner as the enzyme immunoassay of Test Example 1.
  • The pharmacokinetics of the human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T502:
  • α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α] are shown in FIG. 2.
  • As seen in FIG. 2, the human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 18.5 hrs and a Tmax of 12 hrs while human interferon alpha had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 3.4 hrs and a Tmax of 1.4 hrs. Thus, the human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α] of the present invention is significantly increased in in vivo stability, as compared to human interferon alpha.
  • 3. Pharmacokinetics of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor(G-CSF), Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Fusion[T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF]
  • Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals and three of them were administered with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor while five rats were assigned to each of the fusion-administered groups. The granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF], all prepared in Examples 5-6, were subcutaneously injected at a dose of 340 μg/kg into respective groups of Sprague-Dawley rats. Blood samples were taken at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 30, and 48 hrs after the injection, and centrifuged to obtain sera. For a control, Filgrastim (Gracin, Jeil Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Korea), a commercially available granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, was subcutaneously injected at a dose of 100 μg/kg. Blood samples were taken at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 48 hrs after the injection, and centrifuged to obtain sera. Each sample was analyzed in the same manner as the enzyme immunoassay of Test Example 1.
  • The pharmacokinetics of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] are depicted in FIG. 3.
  • As seen in FIG. 3, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 5.1 hrs and a Tmax of 13.6 hrs and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion[T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 4.5 hrs and a Tn, of 16 hrs. On the other hand, a serum half-life (t1/2) of 1.8 hrs and a Tmax of 1.8 hrs were measured in the group administered with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. Hence, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] were found to have significantly increased in vivo stability, as compared to granulocyte colony-stimulating factor.
  • 4. Pharmacokinetics of Exendin-4, Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)]
  • Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals and five rats were assigned to each test group. The Exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] prepared in Example 7 was subcutaneously injected at a dose of 520 μg/kg into Sprague-Dawley rats of each of the test groups. Blood samples were taken at 0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 24, 30, 48 and 72 hrs after the injection, and centrifuged to obtain sera.
  • As a control, exendin-4 was subcutaneously injected to rats at a dose of 40 μg/kg. Blood samples were taken into heparinized tubes at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300 and 360 min after the injection, and centrifuged to obtain sera. Each sample was analyzed in the same manner as the enzyme immunoassay of Test Example 1.
  • The pharmacokinetics of the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] are depicted in FIG. 4. As seen in FIG. 4, the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 19.1 hrs and a Tmax of 10.4 hrs while exendin-4 had a serum half-life (t1/2) of 0.8 hrs and a Tmax of 0.4 hrs. Thus, the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] of the present invention has significantly increased in vivo stability, as compared to exendin-4.
  • Test Example 3 Assay for In Vivo Activity of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides
  • The following experiments were conducted to examine the in vivo activity of the fusion proteins or peptides according to the present invention.
  • 1. In vivo Activity of Human Growth Hormone(hGH), Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH]
  • Pituitary gland-removed Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals and divided into three groups of seven. To the hypophysectomyzed Sprague-Dawley rats, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] prepared in Example 2 and human growth hormone (Eutropin, LG Life Sciences Ltd, Korea) were subcutaneously injected at doses of 18 μg and 5 μg per rat, respectively, every day. For a control, PBS was used. The rats were weighed every day after being injected.
  • Analysis results of the in vivo activity (body weight change in pituitary gland-removed rats) of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] are given in FIG. 5.
  • As seen in FIG. 5, the pituitary gland-removed rats gained almost no weight when administered with PBS whereas weight gain was observed by about 10.2% and 9.4% on day 7 in the pituitary gland-removed rats administered with human growth hormone and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], respectively. Hence, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] of the present invention was found to retain effective in vivo activity in the pituitary gland-removed rats, like human growth hormone.
  • 2. In vivo Activity of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor (G-CSF), Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], and Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S3591)/G-CSF]
  • Sprague-Dawley rats were used as experimental animals and divided into five groups of five each. To the Sprague-Dawley rats, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] prepared in Example 5 was subcutaneously injected at doses of 340 μg/kg and 1,700 μg/kg. To another groups of rats, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] prepared in Example 6 and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor Filgrastim (Gracin, Jell Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Korea) were subcutaneously injected at doses of 1,700 μg/kg and 100 μg/kg, respectively. Blood samples were taken from the tail on 3 days before experiment and on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 days after the injection and leucocytes were counted using Hematology Analyzer (Pentra 120).
  • Analysis results of the in vivo activity (changes in leucocyte level) of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] are given in FIG. 6.
  • As seen in FIG. 6, the leucocyte count was observed to peak level at Day 1 and then decrease to the base line from Day 2 in the group administered with the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor Filgrastim, and peak level on Day 2 and then decrease from Day 3 in the group administered with the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] at a dose of 340 μg/kg. In the groups respectively administered with the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] at a dose of 1,700 μg/kg, the leucocyte count remained high until Day 3 and started to decrease on Day 4. Therefore, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] were found to prolong in vivo activity over granulocyte colony-stimulating factor.
  • 3. In vivo Activity of Exendin-4, and Exendin-4/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)]
  • To examine in vivo activity of the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] of the present invention, an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test and a blood sugar reduction test in diabetes mouse model were conducted as follows.
  • 3-1. Intraperitoneal Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Eight-week-old C57BL/6 mice were fed for four weeks with high-fat feedstuff to induce obesity therein. They were starved from 15 hrs before an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test. In this context, the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT (P357N)] prepared in Example 7 and exendin-4 were intraperitoneally injected once at a dose of 10 nmol/kg into the respective mouse groups, 30 min, 12 and 24 hrs after which glucose was intraperitoneally injected at a dose of 1.5 g/5 mL/kg into the mice. Blood sugar levels of the mice were measured using a glucose meter (Allmedicus, Korea) 0, 10, 20, 30, 60, 90, and 120 min after the glucose injection.
  • Results of the intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test with the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] are shown in FIG. 7. As seen in FIG. 7, the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] administered group maintained low glucose levels for a longer period of time than did the exendin-4-administered group.
  • 3-2. Blood Glucose Reduction in Diabetes Mouse Model
  • The db/db mice, 9 weeks old, were used as experimental animals and divided of three groups of six.
  • While being allowed to freely approach to feedstuff, the db/db mice were subcutaneously injected with the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] prepared in Example 7 or exendin-4 at a dose of 100 nmol/kg, 0, 1, 3, 6, 24, 43, 48 and 52 hrs after which blood sugar concentrations were measured using a glucose meter (Allmedicus, Korea).
  • The effect of the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] on the diabetes mouse model is shown in FIG. 8.
  • As seen in FIG. 8, from the time of 24 hrs after the injection, the exendin-4-administered group had blood sugar levels similar to those of the control whereas the exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)]-administered group maintained lower blood sugar levels, demonstrating the prolonged activity of the fusion protein.
  • Test Example 4 In vitro Activity of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides
  • To examine the in vitro activity of the fusion proteins or peptides of the present invention, the following experiments were conducted.
  • 1. In vitro Activity of Human Growth Hormone (hGH), Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Monovariant Fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], Human Growth Hormone/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH]
  • The rat lymphoma cell line (NB2 cell) was maintained in RPMI1640 supplemented with 10% HS (Horse serum), 10% FBS, 2-mercaptoethanol and antibiotics at 37° C. under a 5% CO2 condition. For 24 hrs before experiment, NB2 cells were incubated in RPMI 1640 supplemented with 10% HS. Thereafter, the NB2 cells were washed once with 1×DPBS (Dulbecco's Phosphate Buffered Saline), and plated at a density of 2×104 cells/100 μL/well in 5% HS-supplemented RPMI 1640 in 96-well plates (Corning, U.S.A.) with final volume of 100 μL. A series of concentrations of the samples were added in an amount of 20 μL to each well of the 96-well plates, followed by incubation at 37° C. for 48 hrs under a 5% CO2 condition. Subsequently, 20 μL of an MTS solution (Promega, U.S.A.) was added to each well of the 96-well plates and allowed to react at 37° C. for 3 hrs under a 5% CO2 condition. The reaction was terminated by adding 20 μL of 10% SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate) to each well. Absorbance was measured at 490 nm using a VersaMax microplate reader (Molecular Device, U.S.A.). EC50 (50% effective concentration) values of the drugs, that is, the concentrations at which 50% of the cells survives, were determined on the basis of the absorbance measured using the MTS method.
  • Analysis results of the in vitro activity of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] are summarized in Table 1 and depicted in FIG. 9.
  • TABLE 1
    Sample EC50 (pM)
    T109wt 211.8
    T109 181.1
    T109T 217.1
  • As is apparent from the data of Table 1 and FIG. 9, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] were not significantly different in EC50 value. Therefore, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH], and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] showed relatively constant in vivo activity (EC50) irrespective of the amino acid mutation of alpha-1 antitrypsin.
  • 2. In vitro Activity of Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor (G-CSF), Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Divariant Fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF], and Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor/Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Trivariant Fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF]
  • Murine myeloblastic NFS-60 cells were incubated in RPMI 1640 supplemented with 10% FBS, mouse IL-3 and antibiotics at 37° C. under a 5% CO2 condition. The absorbance of the cells was measured at 490 nm in the same manner as in Test Example 4-1. EC50 (50% effective concentration) values of the drugs, that is, the concentrations at which 50% of the cells survives, were determined on the basis of the absorbance measured using the MTS method.
  • Analysis results of the in vitro activity of the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] are given in Table 2 and FIG. 10.
  • TABLE 2
    Sample EC50 (pM)
    T602S 78.1
    T602ST 97.6
  • As is apparent from the data of Table 2 and FIG. 10, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] were not significantly different in EC50 value. Therefore, the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] and the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] showed relatively constant in vitro activity (EC50) irrespective of the amino acid mutation of alpha-1 antitrypsin.
  • Test Example 5 Assay for Inhibitory Activity of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides against Trypsin
  • To examine the inhibitory activity of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] against trypsin, the following experiment was conducted.
  • The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] prepared in Example 1 and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] prepared in Example 1 were separately mixed with trypsin. Trypsin and the fusions were used at a concentration of 10 nM, respectively. After being incubated at room temperature for 1 hr, the mixture was reacted with 0.2 mM of the substrate N-Benzoyl-Val-Gly-Arg p-nitroanilide hydrochloride (Sigma, U.S.A.), followed by measuring absorbance at 405 nm. Trypsin unit was set to be the concentration of substrate causing a change in absorbance of 0.001 and the enzyme activity was expressed as units/mg trypsin. For comparison, trypsin was used as a control.
  • The results are depicted in FIG. 11.
  • As seen in FIG. 11, Ka (association equilibrium constant) between trypsin and alpha-1 antitrypsin was calculated to be about 7.5×108 M−1 for the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and about 8.0×106 M−1 for the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH]. The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] showed excellent inhibitory activity against trypsin whereas the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] was not a good trypsin inhibitor. Thus, the fact that the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] increase in in vivo half-life by sustained circulation is not dependent on the inherent property of alpha-1 antitrypsin.
  • Test Example 6 Assay for Inhibitory Activity of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides against Human Neutrophil Elastase
  • To examine the inhibitory activity of the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] against human neutrophil elastase, the following experiment was conducted.
  • The human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] prepared in Example 1 and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] prepared in Example 1 were separately mixed with human neutrophil elastase. The elastase and the fusions were used at a concentration of 40 nM, respectively. After being incubated at room temperature for 1 hr, the mixture was reacted with 1 mM of the substrate MeOSuc-AAPV-pNA (Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., U.S.A.), followed by measuring absorbance at 405 nm. Human neutrophil elastase unit was set to be the concentration of substrate causing a change in absorbance of 0.001 and the enzyme activity was expressed as units/mg elastase.
  • The results are depicted in FIG. 12.
  • As seen in FIG. 12, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] was observed to inhibit almost 100% human neutrophil elastase while the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] had a Ka of about 1.4×107M−1. Thus, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] served as an excellent human neutrophil elastase inhibitor whereas the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] had low inhibitory activity against human neutrophil elastase. Therefore, the fact that the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] increase in vivo half-life by sustained circulation is not dependent on the inherent property of alpha-1 antitrypsin.
  • Test Example 7 Electrophoresis Assay of the Fusion Proteins or Peptides
  • To examine the molecular weight change according to the addition of glycosylation site, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH], the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion
  • [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] were subjected to SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
  • The results are shown in FIG. 13.
  • As seen in FIG. 13, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] in which an additional glycosylation site (Asn-X-Ser) was shown a protein-stained band migrated in the higher molecular weight postion, as compared to the native human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] in which no additional glycosylation sites were generated. As for human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH], it has more extensive additional glycosylation at position 357 (Asn-X-Thr) and its increased molecular weight was even more apparent. Thus, the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] and the human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] had increased molecular weights due to the addition of a glycosylation site thereto.
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
  • Being in sustained circulation forms, the fusion proteins or peptides of the present invention significantly increase in serum half-life (T1/2) and show excellent in vivo stability, as compared to the physiologically active proteins or peptides themselves. Therefore, the fusion proteins or peptides of the present invention can be applied to the development of the sustained circulation dosage forms of the protein or peptide drugs.

Claims (21)

1. A fusion protein or peptide, comprising a physiologically active protein or peptide fused to alpha-1 antitrypsin, whereby the physiologically active protein or peptide has an increased in vivo half-life by maintenance in a sustained circulation.
2. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 1, wherein the physiologically active protein or peptide is fused directly or via a linker consisting of amino acids to alpha-1 antitrypsin.
3. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 1, wherein the physiologically active protein is selected from the group consisting of hormones and their receptors, biological response modifiers and their receptors, cytokines and their receptors, enzymes, antibodies, and antibody fragments.
4. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 3, wherein the physiologically active protein is selected from the group consisting of human growth hormone (hGH), insulin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), human chorionic gonadotropin, parathyroid hormone (PTH), erythropoietin (EPO), thrombopoietin (TPO), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon alpha, interferon beta, interferon gamma, interleukins, macrophage activating factor, tumor necrosis factor, tissue plasminogen activator, coagulation factor VII, VIIa, VIII and IX, human bone morphogenic protein 2 (hBMP2), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), glucocerebrosidase, α-galactosidase A, α-L-iduronidase, iduronate-2-sulfatase, lactase, adenosine deaminase, butyrylcholinesterase, chitinase, glutamate decarboxylase, imiglucerase, lipase, uricase, platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase, neutral endopeptidase, urokinase, streptokinase, myeloperoxidase, superoxide dismutase, botulinum toxin, collagenase, hyaluronidase, L-asparaginase, monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, scFv, Fab, Fab′, F(ab′)2 and Fd, and a combination thereof.
5. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 1, wherein the physiologically active peptide is selected from the group consisting of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and its analogs, exendin and its analogs, somatostatin and its analogs, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist and antagonist, adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, oxytocin, thymosin alpha-1, corticotropin-releasing factor, calcitonin, bivalirudin, vasopressin analogs, fragments of physiologically active proteins, and a combination thereof.
6. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 1, being human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin fusion [T109wt: α1AT/hGH] having an amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1.
7. A fusion protein or peptide, comprising a physiologically active protein or peptide fused to alpha-1 antitrypsin variant having at least one mutated amino acid residue, whereby the physiologically active protein or peptide has an increased in vivo half-life by maintenance in a sustained circulation.
8. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 7, wherein the physiologically active protein or peptide is fused directly or via a linker consisting of amino acids to alpha-1 antitrypsin variant having at least one mutated amino acid residue.
9. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 7, wherein the physiologically active protein is selected from the group consisting of hormones and their receptors, biological response modifiers and their receptors, cytokines and their receptors, enzymes, antibodies, and antibody fragments.
10. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 9, wherein the physiologically active protein is selected from the group consisting of human growth hormone (hGH), insulin, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), human chorionic gonadotropin, parathyroid hormone (PTH), erythropoietin (EPO), thrombopoietin (TPO), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon alpha, interferon beta, interferon gamma, interleukins, macrophage activating factor, tumor necrosis factor, tissue plasminogen activator, coagulation factor VII, VIIa, VIII and IX, human bone morphogenic protein 2 (hBMP2), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), glucocerebrosidase, α-galactosidase A, α-L-iduronidase, iduronate-2-sulfatase, lactase, adenosine deaminase, butyrylcholinesterase, chitinase, glutamate decarboxylase, imiglucerase, lipase, uricase, platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase, neutral endopeptidase, urokinase, streptokinase, myeloperoxidase, superoxide dismutase, botulinum toxin, collagenase, hyaluronidase, L-asparaginase, monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, scFv, Fab, Fab′, F(ab′)2 and Fd, and a combination thereof.
11. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 7, wherein the physiologically active peptide is selected from the group consisting of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and its analogs, exendin and its analogs, somatostatin and its analogs, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist and antagonist, adrenocorticotropic hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, oxytocin, thymosin alpha-1, corticotropin-releasing factor, calcitonin, bivalirudin, vasopressin analogs, fragments of physiologically active peptides, and a combination thereof.
12. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 7, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an asparagine residue instead of proline at position 357 of P2.
13. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 7, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an asparagine residue instead of proline at position 357 of P2, and one or more additional mutated amino acid residues at other positions.
14. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 13, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an threonine residue instead of serine at position 359, or a serine residue instead of cysteine at position 232 as one or more additional mutated amino acid residues at other positions.
15. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 13, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an asparagine residue instead of proline at position 357 of P2, a threonine residue instead of serine at position 359, and a serine residue instead of cysteine at position 232 as one or more mutated amino acids.
16. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 7, being selected from the group consisting of a human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T109: α1AT(P357N)/hGH] (SEQ ID NO: 2), a human growth hormone/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T109T: α1AT(P357N, S359T)/hGH] (SEQ ID NO: 3), a human interferon alpha/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T502: α1AT(P357N)/IFN-α](SEQ ID NO: 4), a granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin divariant fusion [T602S: α1AT(P357N, C232S)/G-CSF] (SEQ ID NO: 5), a granulocyte colony-stimulating factor/alpha-1 antitrypsin trivariant fusion [T602ST: α1AT(P357N, C232S, S359T)/G-CSF] (SEQ ID NO: 6), and an exendin-4/alpha-1 antitrypsin monovariant fusion [T304: Exendin-4/α1AT(P357N)] (SEQ ID NO: 7).
17. A method for increasing in vivo half-life of a protein or peptide, comprising conjugation of the physiologically active protein or peptide with alpha-1 antitrypsin or an alpha-1 antitrypsin variant having at least one mutated amino acid residue, whereby the conjugate shows a sustained circulation behavior in vivo.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an asparagine residue instead of proline at position 357 of P2.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an asparagine residue instead of proline at position 357 of P2, and one or more additional mutated amino acid residues at other positions.
20. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 19, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an threonine residue instead of serine at position 359, or a serine residue instead of cysteine at position 232 as one or more additional mutated amino acid residues at other positions.
21. The fusion protein or peptide of claim 19, wherein the alpha-1 antitrypsin variant has an asparagine residue instead of proline at position 357 of P2, a threonine residue instead of serine at position 359, and a serine residue instead of cysteine at position 232.
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